What Does Quality Really Mean to Home Builders

Posted on: August 15th, 2018

If you’re in the market to build a new home, you have plenty of options to choose from in terms of home builders. Choosing a builder to create your dream home is a huge decision, and one that you want to make sure you research diligently so your dream doesn’t become a nightmare with quality issues. When you’re shopping for a home builder, though, they all say they value quality. So the question becomes, what does quality really mean to home builders?


Above all, home builders must meet residential building code requirements set by local and state governing bodies. Instituting lean practices, most US localities have adopted the International Code Council’s I-Codes, which address all aspects of single-family, two-family, and multi-family construction, including structural elements, electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems as well as energy conservation requirements.

These codes affect construction, configuration and the cost of new buildings, remodeling, and additions. And while they originally existed only to protect public health and safety, governing bodies increasingly use codes to implement policies such as energy efficiency, resilience, sustainability, and property protection.

What you need to remember about these codes is that they outline minimum requirements for home builders. Your perception of quality and the minimum requirement for compliance with codes might not be equal.


home builderThe best way to determine whether a home builder’s idea of quality matches your own is to ask them questions while looking at the product. Ask about the suppliers and materials used in their homes and how the builder came to make those sourcing decisions.

A home show or an open house sponsored by a home builder is a good opportunity for discussions on quality. Model homes are also great resources to see the end product. While models are generally furnished, you can also ask the home builder to show you unfurnished homes to better assess the quality of items hidden by furniture, such as cabinetry and other carpentry, carpeting and other flooring, trim-work, and paint.

When walking through the home, keep an eye out for:

  • Deep cracks in the foundation or basement walls
  • Sagging floors or leaning walls
  • Windows and doors that don’t sit well in frames or close properly
  • Wide cracks in interior walls
  • Signs of water damage
  • Flooding and sewer and drain backups
  • Switched hot and cold spigots
  • Missing required permits

All these flaws can signify construction defects, so if you see any of them, ask more questions. If you decide to work with this builder, you may consider hiring a structural engineer to examine your newly built home before closing.


Westport is all about quality. We meet and exceed industry standards in every possible category with the best building materials, the most advantageous locations and the greatest team of builders in the Midwest. In fact, Westport has been consistently honored by Quality Builders Warranty with the organization’s Builder of Integrity Award.

The homes we craft have sustainability at the helm of design, as we are committed to providing our homeowners with an efficient, comfortable and healthy home. Westport scores an impressive average on the HERS Index so that a Westport home can save you hundreds of dollars per year compared to an existing home.

What does quality in a new home mean to you? Tell us on Facebook.


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